August 14, 2002
Wait, that borders on being interesting

Today, alas, is the last day of the Crawford weblog, as intrepid reporter Rachel Graves gets to come home tomorrow. Which is too bad, because she's just starting to verge on being interesting. Yesterday, in a day that must have been slow even by Crawford standards, she answered viewer mail. The burning questions included one asking whether any of the reporters had gotten it on during their copious free time (alas, this went unanswered) and one asking if the hay bales that you can see in the background of TV reporter shots are real or props (they're real, but they're not on the Bush ranch).

The highlight from an Actual Bit of Information perspective was this answer to the question about why we've gotten so little real news:

In an ideal world, we would get to ask as many newsworthy questions as we want and get good answers. In reality, President Bush carefully controls the flow of information, both by limiting how many questions he takes and by staying "on message" with answers that are repeats of what he has already said. I can assure you that every bit of news that has happened since I've been here has been reported in traditional news stories in the newspaper and on the Web site.

I suppose I should just file this under "tell me something I didn't already know", but what the hell.

Today's final report is about yesterday's public relations stunteconomic forum, and it shows signs that maybe, just maybe, she's beginning to understand what makes a blog worth reading. Here's some actual Insider Scoop that I wouldn't have known about otherwise:

The easiest place to watch from was yet another gym-turned-filing center - this one at Baylor. There, reporters could watch the presidents' progress on television. He took notes during the panels, and during one camera close up, Washington Post reporter Mike Allen ran up to the screen and turned his head upside down to try to see what Bush was writing.

Bush slipped into folksy Central Texas-speak for many of his comments and talked about things such as making Wall Street data simple enough for the regular folks in Crawford to understand, not just people on the East and West coasts. (ed. note: So does this mean that Bush thinks the regular folks in Crawford are too dumb to understand all that highfalutin' financial stuff?)

Reporters kept up a running commentary of our own on what Bush was saying while taking notes and listening for anything that hadn't been said before.

The panels were followed by a summary event at which the president made a lengthy speech. Before Bush came in, Enya was playing, a bizarre contrast to the heartland feel of the event.

Finally, Graves noted that in the $5 billion that Bush is threatening to cut is money for Central Texas flood relief. Sure does feel good to have a president from your own state in office, doesn't it?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'll kinda sorta miss this weblog. Maybe the next one will learn from this and won't take so long to get warmed up. If there is a next one, anyway.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 14, 2002 to The great state of Texas

Okay, you have some idea I'm conservative, so this may come as heresy in some of my circles -- but have you noticed that just about every time Bush (or that bumbling O'Neill) makes an economic pronouncement of any sort, markets tank? Sure, the Bushies were right to be annoyed when some networks ran a stock ticker beside one of his speeches, but lately it seems that any Bush proclamation is matched by market decline -- hence the terrible day on Wall Street yesterday (Economic Forum) followed by a GREAT day on Wall Street today (relative silence).

Posted by: Kevin Whited on August 14, 2002 6:58 PM

I've noticed (so has Garry Trudeau - see today's Doonesbury), and it's rather amusing. I think the main problem is that it's hard to take Dubya seriously when he talks about cracking down on wayward CEOs. It's like Bill Clinton coming out against BJs.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 14, 2002 7:03 PM